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This article traces the historical processes by which Brazil became a world leader in cesarean sections. It demonstrates that physicians changed their position toward and use of different obstetric surgeries, in particular embryotomies and cesarean sections, over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The authors demonstrate that Catholic obstetricians, building upon both advancements in cesarean section techniques and new civil legislation that gave some personhood to fetuses, began arguing that fetal life was on par with its maternal counterpart in the early twentieth century, a shift that had a lasting impact on obstetric practice for decades to come. In the second half of the twentieth century, cesarean sections proliferated in clinical practice, but abortions remained illegal. Most importantly, women remained patients to be worked on rather than active participants in their reproductive lives.